Iranian navy vessels during drills in the Sea of Oman. Undated

Iranian navy vessels during drills in the Sea of Oman. Undated

Iran Reports Seizing Foreign Tanker For Carrying 'Smuggled Fuel'

4/9/2022

Iran has seized a “foreign vessel” in the Persian Gulf for carrying “smuggled fuel”, Fars news website close to the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) reported Saturday.

The head of Iran’s Judiciary in Hormozgan Province on the Persian Gulf said that the IRGC naval forces had “identified” a foreign vessel carrying 220,000 liters of “smuggled fuel” and seized the unidentified vessel.

The report said 11 foreign crew members were detained until investigations are completed. There was no reference to the nationality of the tanker in question or the crew. The report also did not say where the fuel was being smuggled from and to what destination.

The news come as negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal known as JCPOA are in limbo mainly due to Iran’s demand that the IRGC be removed from the United States’ list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

Iran has boarded and seized foreign-flagged tankers in the past. One major incident occurred in January 2021 when the IRGC seized a Korean tanker for what seemed to be Iranian pressure on Seoul to release around $7 billion of funds frozen because of US sanctions.

Iran also was behind mine attacks against foreign tankers in the summer of 2019, when the US imposed full sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports.

The US Navy in the Persian Gulf region is known to have intervened in some instances to protect tankers.

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